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Review: It Should Happen to You


I've been hearing for years about It Should Happen to You: directed by George (My Fair Lady, Philadelphia Story) Cukor, starring Judy Holliday; Jack Lemmon's debut film. I was intrigued by the plot summary that mentioned Holliday's character (Gladys Glover) deciding to put her name on a billboard, and the Stanford Theatre schedule always described the movie in glowing terms.

Also, I used the movie's title in passing in my 1997 column "What They Did: The Movie."

So last Thursday evening, I noticed that it was the last day of the movie's latest run at the Stanford, so Kam and I went to see it.

Turned out to be a lot of fun. I had been trepidatious (even though it turns out that's not a word) because the last Lemmon movie I saw, The Apartment, didn't do much for me. (And because this one was double-featuring with Some Like It Hot, which I didn't like much when I saw it--we skipped that, but I worried that if they were double-featuring, they might share a sense of humor.) But Lemmon was charming in this (even if his arguments with Gladys did conflate two different notions--it's best to be part of the crowd, and if you make a name for yourself it should stand for something--and I only agreed with one of those notions), and he and Holliday were fun to watch together.

I'm not a big fan of humor of humiliation/embarrassment, and there were a couple of brief bits that I winced at in this movie. But what mostly kept it from being humor of humiliation (from my point of view, anyway) was that Glover had a solid core of self-worth and strength. What she wanted to do was sometimes silly, but she stood her ground when it was important to her, and I ended up with more respect for the "dumb blonde" character than for all the various people who tried to push her around.

Movie overall is funny and charming. Recommended.

And it had the nice side effect of reminding me how much I like Lemmon when I like him. It made me want to go find a copy of Tribute to watch; we watched that when I was a kid, and I remember liking it a lot, and I think Peter and Jay liked it a lot as well. The IMDB isn't so kind to it, so maybe I wouldn't like it so much now, but I'll keep an eye out for it anyway. Sadly, Netflix doesn't have it.

Btw, coming up soon at the Stanford: a Ronald Colman film festival. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing it'll include at least The Prisoner of Zenda (yay!), Lost Horizon, and A Tale of Two Cities.


For what it's worth, I only really enjoyed The Apartment and Some Like It Hot when I saw them each for the second time.

If you like Jack Lemmon you should definitely check out The Great Race. It is a Blake Edward's film (which means it could stand a bit of time in the editing room), but any film dedicated to Laurel and Hardy can't be too bad. I think you would enjoy it a lot (it is one of my favorites).

Re: Tribute--I also looked for it on NetFlix (several weeks ago), and when I didn't see it, I sent NetFlix a recommendation that they add it. You can see how much pull I have with NetFlix...Funny, I remember Peter liking Tribute *a lot* but I barely remember it...which is why I wanted to see it.

I also tend to like Lemmon a lot, and incidentally, the office building where I work in Los Angeles (Westwood) is adjacent to the tiny hidden cemetery where Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Mel Torme, and many other notables are buried. I sometimes go there, not so much because I have some bizarre fascination with dead celebrities, but instead because it is a great place for peace and quiet...which is attainable until a tour bus pulls up.

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